The Victorian Department of Transport (DoT) is bringing the Traffic Management Reform (TMR) Program into action this year.
So what types of changes can those in the traffic management industry expect and how will their day-to-day operations be impacted?
The Traffic Management Reform (TMR) Program
After an unusual few months, Victorians are getting back out and about across the state and returning to the road networks. As traffic on our roads increases, traffic around worksites gets busier and delays and congestion become more common.
At the same time, there is a large amount of construction occurring state-wide. While building, repairing and maintaining roads is essential it’s just as important – if not more important – to make sure all of these projects are completed safely.
The traffic management industry has an important role when it comes to making sure work zones are in place. These zones prioritise the safety of workers, road users and local communities and also help to tackle congestion and delays.
This is no small feat, which is why the Victorian Government is introducing the TMR reform program to provide extra support to the traffic management industry.
The program consists of eight initiatives, which have been designed to achieve improved consistency across the traffic management industry. There is also a strong focus on implementing safety-focused approaches when planning and delivering traffic management activities.
The Traffic Management Reform (TMR) program initiatives
The eight new initiatives are divided into two core areas: initiatives for improving permit application processes and initiatives for improving traffic management qualifications, training and enforcement.
The initiatives for improving permit application processes are:
- Centralisation of Memorandum of Authorisation (MoA) permits: started March 2022
- MoA charging: starting late-2022
- Permits Self-Service Portal: starting late-2022
- Consent process harmonisation: starting late-2022
The initiatives for improving traffic management qualifications, training and enforcement are:
- Introduction of Temporary Traffic Management Accreditation (accreditation) program: started February 2022 with 12 month transitional period for existing prequalified companies
- Adoption of the Austroads Guideline to Temporary Traffic Management (AGTTM) to replace the current Code of Practice – worksite traffic management: starting July 2022
- Nationally consistent training methods and materials: starting in the second half of 2022
- Surveillance Framework and end-to-end processes: starting in the second half of 2022
For more information about each initiative visit the VicRoads website.
How will the TMR program change traffic management activities?
The two main areas that will be impacted by changes from the TMR program are how traffic management activities are planned and delivered.
Changes to how traffic management activities are planned
The way traffic management activities are planned is set to change.
The Department of Transport (DoT) is improving planning processes and putting safety at the forefront of this change. For those in the traffic management sector this means activities that prioritise safety can be quickly and easily planned and doing business with DoT will be more straightforward.
Through the introduction of four core initiatives the permit application processes and IT systems of DoT are being upgraded. Now applying for, monitoring and receiving approved applications can be done with ease.
These initiatives are:
- The ‘Centralisation of MoA permit processing’ initiative: The same team will process all MoA permits, making the process and information requirements consistent across Victoria.
- The ‘Consent process harmonisation’ initiative: Gives traffic management companies a consistent and streamlined process to follow by aligning the MoA and Consent permit authorisation processes.
- The introduction of a new Permits Self-Service Portal: Both permits can be applied for online via the Permits Self-Service Portal. Requests are uploaded directly into the system and a personalised dashboard means their status can be easily tracked. This saves time and makes the overall process easier to navigate.
- The introduction of a new MoA charge for processing permits: By viewing accurate information about which works are taking place at a given time, traffic management companies can ensure they are only applying for permits they are going to use.
Taking these steps to streamline planning in the traffic management industry puts companies in a better position to effectively demonstrate how they are prioritising safety. They also have a clearer understanding of how long the permit application process will take, and can progress from the planning to delivery phase faster.
Changes to how traffic management activities are delivered
The TMR program has four initiatives that are designed to support those in the traffic management industry with delivering their works in a safe manner.
These initiatives are:
- Adopting the AGTTM and updating the current Road Management Act 2004 (Code of Practice for Worksite Safety – Traffic Management) to ensure it is aligned with the new approach: The existing obligations and requirements for maintaining high safety standards will be included in the new code of practice. But, they will be simplified to ensure they can be easily understood. This updated COP will replace the 2010 version.
- Updating the traffic management training model and introducing the accreditation program: This initiative makes sure the new code can be seamlessly incorporated into how workers are trained and how companies get approval for completing work on the road network. New traffic management workers will be required to take the new training courses in the first instance. Current traffic management workers will take the new training course as their qualifications expire.
- The Surveillance Framework and end-to-end processes: Once the new code comes into action, this initiative holds any traffic management companies or workers that fail to stay compliant with regulations and standards accountable.
Why these changes have been made
The TMR program has been introduced to provide efficient and clear MoA and consent permit approval processes, systems and supports for companies in the traffic management industry.
By simplifying this process and making it consistent across Victoria, it becomes easier and faster for companies to ensure that their activities are planned and delivered in a safe manner.
The changes make the road networks safer for workers, pedestrians and road users while also helping traffic management companies ensure compliance with regulations that apply to them. They also help road users better understand how to safely move around worksites.
Temporary traffic management roles and road categories
When applying for the new TMR program traffic management companies will need to nominate a role and category.
Temporary traffic management roles
Within temporary traffic management, there are two roles:
- Design (TMD): This role broadly involves designing, drafting, reviewing and making modifications to Traffic Management Plans (TMP), such as site audits and inspections. Traffic management companies that nominate this role must show that their employees have the qualifications needed to complete TMPs.
- Implementation (TMI): When companies perform this role they take on responsibility for setting out, implementing and monitoring TMP. They must also have an accredited traffic controller on site.
Temporary traffic management road categories
Some traffic management companies have existing prequalification by DoT for completing temporary traffic management. If you’re one of them, you can apply for accreditation under the new program in one or more of the following categories:
- Category 1 roads: most urban and lower volume rural roads with a speed limit of ? 60 km/h. These roads can be sealed or unsealed, with or without a centreline and often have a single lane for each direction.
- Category 2 roads: high volume roads such as major urban roads. This category doesn’t include freeways.
- Category 3 roads: high volume, high speed multi-lane freeways such as those with on and off-ramps.
For new companies, there is only the option to apply for accreditation to work on category 1 roads. If companies intend to get accredited for work on category 2 or 3 roads, they must first demonstrate that they have the experience and high level of competency to complete these more complex works.
What is the assessment process?
1. Applying for accreditation
Applications for prequalification will no longer be accepted after 1 February 2022 as the new accreditation program has come into effect. Companies with existing prequalification will need to make the transition to the TMR program by 1 February 2023.
After this time has lapsed companies that haven’t transitioned will have existing MoA permits cancelled, while also being unable to work on the road network or apply for MoA permits.
Before working on the road network, new traffic management companies will also need to apply for accreditation.
The application form can be downloaded on the VicRoads website, which is also where you can find information about the documentation you will need to supply during this stage and the Systems Certification or ISO auditing requirements.
2. Assessment of applications
After a company submits their application, DoT determines whether they are in the position to complete traffic management in their chosen role and category.
Assessment is based on the information provided in the application as well as any supporting documentation, Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), referee feedback and documented evidence regarding temporary traffic management experience.
The information provided by the company is also verified with coordinating road authorities and other stakeholders at this stage to ensure there are no mistakes and that details aren’t false or misleading.
When applying for accreditation, companies should allow up to eight weeks for the assessment process to be completed. It is therefore encouraged that existing prequalified companies complete this new application process by September 2022 to enable sufficient time to be assessed.
At this point companies are notified about the outcome of the assessment – whether they have successfully achieved accreditation or not – in writing. If the company is dissatisfied with the result, they have the option to request a review.
4. List of accredited companies
All accredited companies have their names published on the accreditation register. Additional information that is published includes the name of company director/s, any sanctions imposed by DoT against the entity, company head office address.
Visit the VicRoads website to view the published list of accredited companies.
Accreditation remains valid for a maximum of two years, given the requirements of compliance are continually met during this time.
Contact us for more information
For more information about the TMR program and how your traffic management company will be impacted, get in touch with our team of consultants.
Source of Information: Department of Transport / VicRoads.